Falconry Programme in the North Sea Supports Platform Decommissioning

Moving and Protecting the Kittiwake Population Offshore

Our client THREE60 approached NBC in May 2021 to seek NBC's expertise in offshore bird management. The Schooner offshore installation, located off the East coast of England, was due for decommissioning in 2022/2023, but it had an existing presence of Kittiwakes on the platform and the legal protection that they are offered would have prevented decommissioning.

Our Solution

In line with UK legislation which is designed to ensure the effect of decommissioning does not have a detrimental effect on local wildlife, operators THREE60 Energy commissioned NBC to assess the nesting Kittiwake population on the platforms and provide key data to support the decommissioning programme.

Watch the video to find out how...


We conducted a survey in 2021 find 224 Kittiwake nests, 316 eggs and 307 chicks on the Schooner platform. These results meant that we strategically deployed a Falconry programme in 2022 to protect and move the Kittiwake population.

The programme used three falcons to deter Kittiwakes from the Schooner platform, towards a new, safer habitat. Being birds of prey and a natural threat to Kittiwakes, these falcons are hand reared by our own Falconers. They are highly trained to only deter the birds from nesting by being visible in specific areas on the platform or in flight around it, proving to be an extremely effective non-lethal bird deterrent.

In April 2023, a final pre-lift survey of Schooner was conducted, discovering that the Falconry programme had resulted in a reduction to just 22% in Kittiwake nests on the platform and a reduction to 7% in Kittiwake eggs. A demonstration that a significant number of the flock had indeed successfully found new nesting grounds along the coast of the UK mainland. The programme’s successful outcome resulted in the UK Government granting a licence for removal works to continue under a strict set condition.

The careful planning, diligent surveys and effective application of falconry allowed for the offshore installation to be successfully decommissioned without compromising the Kittiwake population that existed on the structure. The next generation of Kittiwakes born to the flock in the 2023 and subsequent nesting season, will never know the platforms were there.

Find out more about our Offshore Bird Control

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